ABC 15 follows the story as the Phoenix Police Department opens its training program to civilians to give them a first-hand look at the life-or-death decisions that police officers have to make every day. To shoot, or not to shoot, that is the question – a question that police officers are posing to Joe Blows.
The simulation requires volunteers to stand in front of a wall, which has images projected onto it. Everything from domestic abuse calls to armed robberies test a person’s judgment and reaction times to see if they can quickly determine which cases require lethal force. The volunteers even have fake guns to make the experience as realistic as possible. The aim of the demonstration is to help raise public awareness of the high-stress, difficult scenarios that police officers have to regularly navigate while on the job.
One of the participants, AJ Marsden, isn’t accustomed to drawing guns on alleged criminals during her day job as a teacher. She found the event to be an adrenaline rush: “Once the gun started to raise so did my heart rate. The first time I just froze, but then the second time, I needed to emotionally go through it, so I drew my gun, lined it up and shot.”
The program is still ongoing, so Phoenix gun owners who think they’ve got the panache and expertise to shoot the criminals and let the criminally stupid keep living can try their luck at the simulator.